Australia closed day two of the fourth Ashes Test against England in Melbourne on 164 for nine after earlier bowling out the tourists for 255.
Mitchell Johnson (5-63) picked up his third five-wicket haul of the series as Australia bowled out England an hour into the day’s play to seize the initiative in the fourth test.
But for the first time in the series the Australian batting line up collapsed and they limped to 164 for nine at stumps leaving England in a position from which potentially they can salvage something from what has been a calamitous series so far.
Resuming on 226 for six, much was expected from Kevin Pietersen who began day two unbeaten on 67. Pietersen only added four to his overnight score as had his middle pole knocked back by Johnson when taking a heave across the line.
Australia quickly polished off the England innings and would have harboured hopes of quickly putting the pressure back on England’s bowlers as they had done so often in this series. But David Warner (9) and Shane Watson both fell before lunch to leave the hosts precariously placed at 36 for two at the interval.
After lunch Australia’s captain Michael Clarke made an uncharacteristic error of judgement as he left a ball from James Anderson which swung back in slightly and clipped his off pole to send him on his way for 10.
Chris Rogers held the innings together and reached his 50 shortly after tea but a brilliant catch from Ian Bell at slip removed Steve Smith (19) and when Rogers fell soon after Australia were in all sorts of trouble.
Stuart Broad and Anderson were the pick of the bowlers for England claiming three for 30 and three for 50 respectively. Brad Haddin remains unbeaten on 43 and Australia’s hopes of getting close to parity with England would appear to rest almost entirely on his broad shoulders.
© Cricket World 2013